Thu, Jan 06, 2005 - Page 1 News List

Indonesian troops kill suspected rebels near Aceh


Indonesian troops killed two suspected rebels near a refugee camp in Aceh for survivors of last month's deadly earthquake and tsunami, an army spokesman said yesterday.

The shootings occurred after marines ambushed a group of alleged Free Aceh Movement fighters yesterday in the North Aceh town of Seunudun, said Marine Lieutenant Colonel Bambang Sus. The one-hour gunbattle raged about 2km from a refugee camp, he said.

"Two of the rebels were shot dead and we are now hunting down the other four," Bambang said. "We are trying to clear routes so that supplies and humanitarian aid can be transported."

A spokesman for the rebel Free Aceh Movement could not immediately be reached for comment.

Insurgents in Aceh have been fighting for an independent homeland since 1976. At least 13,000 people have been killed in the conflict, including 2,300 since Jakarta launched its latest military offensive in May 2003.

Rebels announced a unilateral cease-fire following the Dec. 26 disaster that killed more than 94,000 people mostly in Aceh. The government, meanwhile, has lifted a ban on foreigners visiting the war-torn province.

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